Because the success of public relations is tied to public opinion, and because public opinion is a malleable, fickle beast, effective public relations must be ongoing and multifaceted. It must attack on many levels and continue to attack —like germ warfare. Another (nicer) way to think of it is the way a bee pollinates a hydrangea bush: it flits here, there, then back again, never stopping, relentless in its duties. A large organization might need to employ many bees, one for each major division or product line. For most small businesses, one bee will do, and if you’re in charge, guess who that bee is? (If the antennae fit…)
To ensure that your public relations activities are focused and effective (and to avoid that terrible buzzing in your head), a system is needed. This system is called the PR campaign and it is detailed in the PR plan.
PR plans come in many shapes and sizes, and vary from brief and informal to “Where’s the forklift?” But basically, all PR plans attempt to answer three questions:
- Where are we now? (Situation Analysis)
- Where do we want to be? (Goals and Objectives)
- How do we get there? (Strategies and Tactics)
In addition, all PR plans should contain the budget for the plan, and a method for measuring and documenting the plan’s success.
A PR plan may be geared toward improving a company’s identity, promoting a product or service, or repositioning a product or service within a market. How detailed a plan your company will need depends on your own situation and objectives.
PR plans provide a way to identify your goals and keep you on track in meeting those goals. It’s how all smart bees make honey.